Ormonde Jayne Ta’if : Fragrance Review


Rose dew 3

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Ormonde Jayne Ta’if is an oriental still life with roses amid Persian sweetmeats and fruit—ripe peaches dripping honeyed juice, opal colored melons, saffron halwah, semolina pastries stuffed with walnuts and dates, orange blossom sherbet.  It straddles the line between gourmand and sensual.  Within its heart, Ta’if hides a delicate spring-like freshness of white flowers, jasmine and orange blossom, with some freesia sweetness.  This airy accord paired with the medicinal note of saffron is exactly what lifts Ta’if out of a sentimental domain of many rose fragrances. Make no mistake, however, this is a rich blend.  A small amount, and it seduces; too much, and you are guaranteed to be a cause of headache for those around you.

Ta’if derives its name from a Saudi Arabian damask rose. Taif is Saudian Arabian town, famous for its cultivation of the oil-rich, 30 petal rose (Rosa x Damascena trigintipetala) since the Ottoman era. Although Taif’s harvest is very small in comparison to export oriented plantations in Turkey, Bulgaria, Russia, China, India, Morocco and Iran, the quality of oil is among the very best.

Notes: Pink pepper, saffron and dates; rose oil, freesia, orange flower absolute and jasmine; broom and amber.

Photo: Rosa x Damascena trigintipetala.



  • Robin: Lovely review of a lovely fragrance! I need to buy it soon but spent all my pennies on Isfahan first. June 9, 2005 at 8:40am Reply

  • LaureAnne: Dear V (thank you for incredible compliment re lotuses, btw,) I thought I remember that you are not an OJ fan. Not that that is apropos of anything, really! I loved Ta’if at first, then I was put off by the murky, headachy-inducing drydown. Now, though , in warm weather, I wear it and love it. I’m funny that way ;D. June 9, 2005 at 7:39am Reply

  • mreenymo: V, you have a way of making every fragrance that you like sound mouth watering! 🙂

    I think it’s true that some fragrances are better and smell better during a specific season. For example, YSL Nu, Passage d’Enfer and Ambre Narguile really “perform” in colder months. But would I wear any of them in the summer? Absolutely not! I would suffocate. 🙂

    By the same token, a fragrance like PdN eau d’ete, would smell thin and insubstantial in fall and winter. Whereas the warmer weather really lets the fragrance sparkle and shine, without being cloying.

    Hugs! June 9, 2005 at 12:07pm Reply

  • parislondres: Hello dear V! I used to detest Ta’if till I retested it and bought it. I think it is well made and lovely for summer days.

    Have a great day! June 9, 2005 at 8:29am Reply

  • Victoria: Dear L, when I fist tried some of these fragrances last year, I was really enchanted by the compositions, however they did not speak to me (other than Ormonde and Champaca, both of which I really liked). Strange, but trying them over the summer makes me think that the samples I had (from a fellow fragrance junkie) were old, or stored improperly, because there was no spark to them. I called for another coffret of samples from OJ, and I cannot believe how much I enjoying them. Perhaps, it is the weather, or the perception. I was actually waiting for you to call me up on this! I do recall our conversation. BTW, you are right–Osmanthus indeed smells like the real thing, now that I had a chance to try Osmanthus absolute.

    Dear R and N,
    I do recall your posts about it, and I went straight to Ta’if when my package arrived. It is gorgeous. I tried Isfahan last night, however I would say that I side with Marlen on this one. Top notes are lovely though. I wish they persisted longer. June 9, 2005 at 10:14am Reply

  • mireille: oh, V. Be still my heart. What lovely imagery for this most wonderful fragrance. Thank you! June 9, 2005 at 11:27am Reply

  • Victoria: It is easy to write about something I like or hate, because anything in the middle (majority of what I try) is just boring, and why bother wasting bandwidth on boring stuff. Thank you for a compliment, dear R!

    Yes, Ambre Narguille in 90F weather… I am feeling ill thinking about. However, OJ Osmanthus which I thought was a little too plain in the winter is just scintillating today!

    xoxo June 9, 2005 at 12:18pm Reply

  • Tania: I found the candied-fruit drydown on this one overwhelming too, the way that Coco Mademoiselle, sometimes so sexy, can get to be annoying as it hangs on, like the loud guest at the party who just gets louder as everyone winds down. But in small quantities, Ta’if is amazing and warms up into a real flirt. And if you actually do want to be the woman at the party whom everyone has to keep noticing (and I won’t pretend to be so classy that this aim would be beneath me) Ta’if would be the perfect thing to throw on. That fresh floral note in the beginning is a stunner, too–what is it? I don’t think it’s the rose. Freesia? What is broom, anyway? June 9, 2005 at 5:15pm Reply

  • Victoria: I agree–too much, and Ta’if becomes headache inducing. It is one potent fragrance. However, in small quantities, it is a very interesting rose. Broom is a shrub (possibly, with hallucinogenic properties, although I would not bet on them being evident from perfume usage). It has a bitter fruity note, and is usually used as a base, because it is rather tenacious. June 9, 2005 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Gentiana: I have to tell you that since more than a year I am in the quest for
    a) The Ultimate Rose Perfume
    b) The Ultimate Iris Perfume
    c) The Ultimate Amber.

    Amber is solved, on Friday I ordered Ambre Sultan from SL e-boutique. Checked.

    Iris… still not decided. I will tell more about on an iris-orris topic article.

    Roses… well… I am oscillating among Sa Majeste La Rose, Lipstick Rose, Une Rose, Mohur, Rose Etoille d’Hollande (gos amples from all of them) and some Andy Tauer’s roses, sniffed only on paper.
    I had Big Expectations towards Taif. And somehow disappointed.
    I sprayed it on my wrist… waited… smelled… waited… smelled… etc…
    Where is the Rose ? – I said.
    I was totally puzzled.
    The rose showed up after about an hour, but, not like a mezzosoprano singing a Lied, fullthroated, with a light piano following, but like a shy singer that is covered by a loud orchestra, or chorus.
    Everyone playing it’s partiture well, all the singers highly skilled, technically impecable… but, somehow it is not a solo, as one can expect. There are some accents here and there, very lightly pointed.
    My question, bothering me yesterday all afternoon: why call it Ta’if? Call it Arabian Pavillon… Call it the 1001 Nights… Call it Lawrence, The Prince of Arabia.
    The rose is maybe one and a half hours in a kind of center of all the development that, on my skin, was about 8 hours.
    And, let me tell you: I felt this perfume as more suitable for a man than for a woman.
    Anyway, it intrigued me, and that is a good thing.
    My sample is big enough to give it a few more tries.
    I will be definitely back on this topic. February 17, 2014 at 1:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your fascinating comments on this and other Ormonde Jayne perfumes, Gentiana. Lately, we’ve stopped talking about them for some reason (and the company hasn’t released anything distinctive lately), but it’s good to revisit the earlier OJs.

      Yes, I agree Taif would be great on a guy. February 17, 2014 at 5:59am Reply

      • Gentiana: What about the newest releases? The Qi, Nawab al Oudh, Montabaco, Tsarina…

        Did you try them? February 17, 2014 at 7:38am Reply

        • Gentiana: Thank you for the very nice you told about my comments… I didn’t think they are fascinating… I somehow still feel very shy about writing my opinions, because I am not skilled in perfumery and my english is not so good…
          Thank you very much. February 17, 2014 at 7:42am Reply

          • Victoria: Not at all! You express yourself really well, and you need not feel shy. I enjoy reading your thoughts, and it’s interesting to follow the perfumes through your descriptions. February 17, 2014 at 7:50am Reply

        • Victoria: I’ve smelled them, but didn’t find them that memorable. Since I didn’t take notes, I can’t even recall what they were like (not a good sign). February 17, 2014 at 7:49am Reply

          • Gentiana: Yes, indeed.
            A fragrance that simply slips out of your olfactive memory is not worth to bother about. Thank you for telling me, I already saved about 40 Euros by not ordering the samples for these ones (as intended).
            Just for my curiosity I will smell them on paper, at my next trip to Bucharest.
            Well, some perfumes may be really challenging (you wrote great articles on this topic), and I prefer the intriguing an memorable smells versus the dull ones.
            The limit for “wearability” remains a personal issue.
            Or, even more: I have perfumes that sometimes literally sing for me, and on other days are meh. Or worse. February 17, 2014 at 10:00am Reply

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